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Trinidad: Govt, Opposition claim victory on FOIA removal

GOVERNMENT and the Opposition each declared victory over the removal of the controversial clause seven of the Miscellaneous Provisions (Tax Amnesty, Pensions, Freedom of Information, National Insurance, Central Bank and Non-Profit Organisations) Bill, 2019. Their respective declarations came before the House approved Senate amendments to the bill, which included the removal of the clause. The bill sought to amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to extend the period within which a public authority is required to inform an applicant of its decision in relation to a request for information.

Government and the Opposition agreed before debate on the motion to vote on all the amendments together. When the vote was first taken, the Opposition tried to reject all amendments except the removal of clause seven. Deputy Esmond Forde reminded the Opposition that it could vote for all the amendments, vote against all the amendments or abstain. On the second time, all 13 Opposition MPs present abstained. The amendments were approved with the 20 Government MPs present voting for them.

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